Project activities and Methodology

The project work will generally start with activities aimed at analyzing the European experience and Russian practice in the field of business cooperation.  This stage of project work is based on comparative analysis methodology and serves as a foundation for subsequent design of active method system. Another part of this stage is in-depth research on businesses requirements on graduate competence in partner countries and the most desired forms of cooperation in business environment. This survey will be done through direct interviews and questionnaires of large and medium businesses in partner countries. Finally, an analysis of the benchmark legislation in EU countries would be conducted, as well as Russian and Kazakhstan legislation overview with regard to business-HEI cooperation programs.

The starting point of these analysis parts would be the kick-off meeting, which would clarify the plan of the project, the management and quality details and specify the choice procedure of field researchers. The latter will be going to seven-day field visits EU universities with the aim of complex research of business-HEI cooperation forms and their application in real educational process. It is expected that EU partners would organise the research process in form of round tables with participation of wide range of experts. It is necessary to note that these field researchers will be lecturers from different partner universities to ensure their future skills upon drafting a retraining program for other teaching staff.  Upon their return a joint report on global overview EU experience in the area will be prepared and published. This will ensure a common ground for intercollegial discussions. Upon the report completion a university-business web conference will be conducted to ensure the applicability of academically selected methods with real down-to-earth operations of real businesses. This conference would also summarize the results of abovementioned employer survey in context of cooperation forms, applicable in partner countries. Finally, at this stage the business cooperation form effectiveness assessment scale and methods will be defined for usage in next stages of the project.

The final outcome and milestone of this large preparation work would be an objective framework of organizing the business-HEI cooperation methods with a purpose to support the national development strategy and priorities. Presumably this system will consist of two parts – an organization framework of connecting university innovations with business capital and entrepreneurial support system. The first will include state-of-the-art organizational guidelines on the facilitation of the abovementioned process. The second will involve student entrepreneurship design suitable for educational purposes, practice placement rethinking, alumni mentorship and business involvement into the educational process. The details of this structure, however, will be outlined through the whole preparation stage, resulting in a program document with project findings.

The second general stage of the project would be aimed at experimental application of the collected business cooperation forms in partner universities. Presumably each university will apply a slighty different combination of the abovementioned forms to work out the most applicable version for consortium countries. Universities with necessary infrastructure would also apply the practical set of EU methods. In the very start of this trial run of the system the consortum will work out the metrics showing the progress and start measuring them on a regular basis to reach the planned levels. At the end of the second stage period the summary assessment of implementation results of all Partner Universities will be done by the project management. The assessment will divide the tested forms to applicable and non-applicable in partner countries. Basing on these results the final draft of complex cooperation system for each Partner University would be published in the form of application methodology guideline handbook for administrative and teaching staff.

The third general stage of the project would be pilot implementation and sustainability provision. After the finalizing the structure of the system the project would require a second teacher mobility period for retraining aims in EU countries. Teachers would travel to EU universities with specific aim of acquiring in-depth skills in promoting and ensuring the sustained development of business cooperation in selected forms. These lecturers would form the core of the retraining program back in partner countries, ensuring the sustainability of project and multiplier effect. Presumably this stage would require careful defining of the list of retrained teaching staff and would involve 3 teachers from each Partner University and 2 administrative staff (5 persons from each Partner University).

During the teacher mobility part the partner universities would be forming the infrastructure necessary for pilot application of composed system. This would involve creation (or redesigning) of the centers of entrepreneurship in each Partner University for practical application of the acquired forms. The pilot run would have their whole curricula based on the finalized version of the system. The goals are fine tuning of the program and living example of the whole cooperation framework design. Also, the PFUR partner companies OBI and Nestle would also contribute to the project by providing the outside view on the system operations. To ensure the sustainability of the project after its life period the modernization of alumni network in every partner university is provided. These networks would subsequently be unified for the goal of inter-regional continuous cooperation between businesses, alumni and students inside the employer guidance part of the designed web resource. The latter would also involve tools aimed at university cooperation, experience sharing and troubleshooting in the process of implementation of the created system to their day-to-day education process. The pilot execution stage would end with preparation of summary assessment of the pilot period, involving the EU specialists participation for better tuning of the finalized system.

The final stage of the project would be drafting recommendations aimed to improve current legislation for Ministries of Education. In the first stage the legislative gaps were analyzed, and taking into account the final form of the proposed active teaching methods, a recommendation report will be created for Ministry of Education.